The Daily Telegraph
September 14, 2015
SURFERS are being put in deadly danger because shark safety messages peddled by government agencies do not apply to white pointers and can’t be easily accessed online.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal traditional safety messages about swimming at dusk and dawn and staying close to the beach are outdated.
North coast shark victims Paul Wilcox and Tadashi Nakahara were both attacked and killed by great whites near the beach in good conditions between 10am and 11am.
Ballina bodyboarder Matt Lee was lucky to survive after being attacked midmorning in similar conditions off Lighthouse Beach in July.
In stark contrast to the NSW Department of Primary Industries website, which has no mention of sharks on its home page and requires links to find its so-called “Sharksmart” information, the WA
government has a dedicated shark site, also called Sharksmart.
The WA page provides real-time updates on tagged shark locations, and photos of shark species instead of illustrations.
It also provides clear information on emergency response details and a fact/fiction checklist, which presents uncensored information on the threat posed by some shark species.
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One of the country’s most senior shark experts told The Daily Telegraph traditional safety protocols did not apply to white pointers. And while bull sharks were known to be near river mouths and to attack
humans, the behaviour of bronze whalers and tiger sharks could vary.
“It is impossible to predict. And every shark behaves differently and every coastline is different,” the expert said.
Matilda Hughes, part-owner of Avoca and Terrigal Learn to Surf, told The Daily Telegraph her business was hurt following a local attack last year.
The 20-year-old said accurate and updated shark education tips were crucial for both locals and tourists.
The DPI said it was looking at improving the NSW Sharksmart program and agreed it was an “important tool to protect beachgoers”.
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